Fairfield School – 125 years – 1895 -2021

A contribution from Ann Buckley.

“One hundred and twenty five years ago today Fairfield (the Board School ) opened its doors to the first eighty pupils. Ninety years later, l had the great pleasure working with a team of parents to publish ‘Fairfield Then and Now‘ which compared the school during the first headship of Mr Harry Beeston with the period when Mrs Ros Lawrence was the Head Teacher.

Click the image to open the book.

I borrowed the school log books from the Winchester Records Office and sat under a tree in the playground and read them and they took me back in time. They were fascinating and gave an insight into school life; epidemics of disease, poor sanitary conditions, staff appointments, problems concerning staff, pupils and their parents, school premises, the curriculum, visits by the School Inspector, and celebrating and marking special days such as the end of the Great War.

Here are just a few entries:

  • “22nd June, 1896. Gave a half day holiday today in consequence of hay-making at Warblington.”
  • “5th September, 1896. l took  10 children out for a Natural History ramble. Direction New Lane. About 25 kinds of flowers were collected.”
  • “21st October 1903. Aubrey Bisnell has eaten a horse chestnut and is too ill to attend school.”
  • “21st December, 1904. A young boy had to stay at home yesterday to help with the turnips. He is only 7 years  old.”
  • “11th October, 1905.  Two children were absent as they had no food to eat – father had no work.”
  • “9th November, 1908. The Bird and Tree team have won the County Challenge Shield in this years competition.”
  • “28th November 1919. Working under great difficulties. The children are far from well and there is a great deal of coughing.”
  • “26th April 1923. Child absent – no shoes to wear.”
  • “14th July 14th 1924. School closed for six weeks in consequence of an epidemic of scarlet fever.”

I wondered if the pupils were sent home with some books or work to do?   

The two photos came into my possession after the book was published and are of the Bird and Tree Team. The pupils won the County Challenge Shield in 1908.

If you would like to read more, the book is now out of print but is available from Havant Library and the Spring. “

Happy Birthday Fairfield!